Is the way cleared for marijuana reform?

The U.S. Department of Justice recently announced it will not sue states to block laws that legalize marijuana.

The department last week sent out a memo detailing its new strategy, according to this article posted on The Crime Report website. The move comes in the wake of decisions by voters in Colorado and Washington to allow people to legally possess small amounts of the drug.

Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia allow people to use marijuana for medical purposes. But the broader laws passed by Colorado and Washington have caused officials to push for clarification from the Obama administration about how federal law enforcement agencies will treat marijuana cases in states with legalization laws, the article said.

The White House responded by saying the federal government still regards marijuana is a highly dangerous drug. But the new guidelines say the federal government will primarily rely on local law enforcement officials to enforce drug laws, the article said.

The exception is that federal officials will continue to monitor legal marijuana dispensaries for certain priorities. They include selling to minors, revenue from drug cartels, trafficking to states without legalization laws, drug-related violence, drugged driving, growing marijuana on public lands and possession of the drug on federal property. The full memo is included in the article if you want to know the specifics.

This memo is significant, because the goverment actually set forth it's position on the issue. However, it certainly does not mean the feds are out of the marijuana enforcement business. As long as marijuana is illegal in some states, you can expect them to focus on the transfer of marijuana there from states where it's illegal. They also apppear to still be interested in the issue of drugged driving, although it's not clear how that's a federal issue if it's not on federal property.

Despite this march toward legalization, please remember that Texas is not on the bandwagon. It is still illegal to possess marijuana here, and it is something you can go to jail for.

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